Battle over Bradenton’s Glazier-Gates Park not over yet

That battle to stop the relocation of Glazier-Gates Park in favor of a new housing development is not over yet as the an appeals case has been filed.
That battle to stop the relocation of Glazier-Gates Park in favor of a new housing development is not over yet as the an appeals case has been filed.

After a judge tossed a lawsuit in May to stop the relocation of Glazier-Gates Park, Stone Soup Community Unity’s attorney Ralf Brookes has filed an appeal.

The park, in the 1000 block of Manatee Avenue West, is slated to be flip-flopped to create a new waterfront park along Riverside Drive East and to make room for the first phase of the 521-unit Villages at Riverwalk all-rental housing development.

There are no filed documents outlining the basis of the appeal. Brookes did not return a call for comment on Monday. Ed Vogler, attorney of record for the developer and the city of Bradenton, said he does not yet know the grounds of the appeal. either.

“It’s not something that is known at this point,” said Vogler. “They have 75 days to file a brief, and that’s when you get to know what their theories are.”

Vogler said once he receives the brief, then he will have about 45 days to file a reply and then Brookes will have at least another 30 days to respond, before the possibility of going before a three-judge panel for oral arguments.

“There’s been no communications, and it’s a bit frustrating because it’s really delaying plans for the expansion and redevelopment of Mineral Springs Park,” said Vogler. “A lot of people want that park enhanced because that’s the true historic park, not so much Glazier-Gates.”

The development team consisting of Atlanta-based Hatfield Development Company and local contractor NDC Construction, agreed to spend an additional $500,000 for Mineral Springs enhancements as part of the final development agreement. They also agreed to do those enhancements first, so all construction is on hold.

Stone Soup member and community activist Barbara Elliott said evidence is growing that Glazier-Gates Park has a historical significance. She said experts have been scouring the site. Among those are James Adovasio who has a significant background in perishable artifacts.

Adovasio, in an email to Elliott, said, “It seems apparent that the area under the threat of development is the focus of an important archaeological site. Therefore, I strongly suggest that this locality should be thoroughly investigated before any development occurs.”

As part of the original development agreement when the city council unanimously supported the park’s relocation, the developers agreed to have construction monitored by a qualified archeologist.

“It’s a common provision when doing subsurface excavation,” said Vogler. “It’s not unique to this project. That’s the law. In this case, the developer has obtained an archeological report. That testing was done by us and there’s no basis for what’s being insinuated. But people are entitled to their process and their views. We tend to focus on what we think is best for the city of Bradenton.”